I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
My Initial Reaction...
Well I just got stranded on a major cliff :( But it was worth it! I loved the characters in Dissonance, the world building was great and I didn't see most the twists coming - but looking back I really should have, which makes Dissonance even more excellent!
I really loved the characters in Dissonance and got to know quite a few of them really well. Del - the main character from whose point of view Dissonance is told - is a Walker, like everyone in her family. But she's a natural and having that natural ability has made her a reckless rule breaker. But she always has good intentions and, what I loved most about her, she has a deep respect for life (even the echoes, which I'll explain later). She's one of those beautifully flawed characters that's has the best intentions and you like, but makes loads of mistakes that makes you cringe for them. Or want to slap them.
Her sister, Addie, is a character I'm really on the fence about. She's the polar opposite of Del. She doesn't break the rules at all, and while she doesn't have Del's natural ability, she has skill from dedication and hard work. She can be incredibly annoying, but I loved the sisterly interactions and the feeling that she's wrestling with a lot of big decisions deep down that Del just can't fully see or understand.
Then there's Elliot - Del's walker best friend, who totally saves her butt over and over. He's a bit of a technological genius it seems and definitely a nice guy - but I really wish we got to know him a little bit better. I think we would, except that Del doesn't fully appreciate him, so we don't get to either. Her loss is our loss.
The love interest - Simon - is particularly hard to describe because we see him in so many different echoes. But I think it says something that no matter where we see him he's incredibly devoted to his mom and has a dog he loves. And the real Simon shows himself to be a lot more complex than the jock he appears to be on the surface, which was a nice surprise.
The final character I got to know and love was Del & Addie's grandfather Monty. He lost their grandmother Rose years ago and has never fully recovered. You spend a good portion ofDissonance fluctuating between loving his crazy, senile behavior and wondering how much he's there. He has a great relationship with Del and I don't think you can help but love him throughout most of Dissonance.
There's two things I loved about Dissonance and one thing that kind of bothered me.
I loved the world building in Dissonance. It was unique, creative and fresh - not to mention speaking to a question I think we've all asked many times. "What if?" What if I had made a different decision - where would I be now? In this world, Walkers (like Del) know the answer because every time an Original (a person in the main world) makes a decision, another version of the world splits off into an Echo, where they made the other decision. It's complex, but really well explained and you easily pick up the terms and details.
What bothered me was that Del starts traveling through the different Echoes and hooking up with (on a PG-13 level) Simon's Echoes (so the versions of him that made other choices). On some level this just didn't work for me - either they're real and she's cheating on so many Simons or they aren't real and then, well, EWWW.
But in the end, that was really a small piece of the puzzle for me. The plot was twisted enough that I always had multiple guesses for what was going to happen and there were plenty of questions floating around - but I didn't call a single one. Looking back I realize I should have. To me, that's a great plot.
Just when I felt like Dissonance was starting to wrap up, bam! I got hit with another twist and then there was no more book. I felt satisfied with the main story arcs resolution, but I promise you, I will be stalking Erica O'Rourke to see what comes next!